How the struggle for gender equality is gained by innovation and empowerment
The struggle for gender equality is ceaseless and, like all wars, has gone through a multitude of different interactions.
In the early 1900s, suffragettes broke windows, handcuffed themselves to railings, and went on hunger strike. In the 1960s, the women's liberation movement stopped sit-ins and burned bras. In the 1980s, guerrilla girls put on gorilla masks to protest against the underrepresentation of female artists in galleries and museums.
The way in which gender equality is combated has changed dramatically again today. Women's rights are won through increasingly innovative approaches and shared empowerment. Read on to learn how.
Empowerment through innovative products from the time
There is one particularly surprising battlefield where the war for gender equality is waged: historic products.
Periods are a fact for women, and yet many countries tax basic hygiene products, including tampons and menstrual pads.
This is less of a problem in developed Western countries, although it is important to note that there is also deep poverty in the West, which often prevents women from certain communities from being able to afford basic hygiene products.
However, women in impoverished countries face greater problems.
Historically and currently, women are paid less than their male colleagues. While this unfortunately exists in the West, it is exacerbated in other less affluent countries.
In connection with endemic poverty, this puts women in the background. They are unable to afford basic feminine hygiene products and often rely on a male breadwinner to purchase such items.
Thanks to a number of initiatives and actions by non-governmental organizations, many women in these communities have access to a range of accessible menstrual hygiene products.
Menstrual cups are the most famous in the west – compact and reusableIt is a one-time purchase that eliminates the need to purchase repeatedly taxed pads and tampons. Lots of women's health initiatives like PERIOD Distribute these products to women who do not have access to (or the money to get) menstrual hygiene products.
There are other solutions for women in impoverished countries. Many NGOs have sent pad-making units to countries like India, where periods are a taboo subject that is rarely discussed.
These units allow women to make their own sanitary napkins from readily available materials. They are often community owned, making them easy to access menstrual hygiene products without relying on men.
Periods are an important battlefield in the fight for gender equality, where a number of factors – poverty, culture and other socio-economic elements – converge. Innovative approaches to menstrual hygiene help improve the playing field.
Women support women through innovative technology
The proliferation of accessible technology has made it easier than ever for women to connect with women. Video calls, social media, and online collaboration tools – all of these provide important opportunities for women to meet, talk to, and share with other women.
Geography or (to a lesser extent) money are no longer an obstacle to the exchange of knowledge between women. Today there is an amazing variety of companies, networks, and services exclusively aimed at women.
To take Sit back, for example. This is a global community of women who bond, support, and advise on a variety of general life and business issues. With a combination of online and offline events, women with Lean In can meet like-minded women to empower each other.
The business world knows about gender inequality. Women who run startup is just one of more and more corporate networks in which women can give advice, exchange contacts and support each other on their entrepreneurial path.
On a more personal level, there are even counseling trainers specifically geared towards women, such as: Orion's method. These offer space for personal and professional development in a safe, relevant environment.
These women-centered networks, companies, circles and services create virtual safe spaces for women. Because of their accessibility (via video, social media, targeted niches, etc.), they are inclusive and indiscriminate.
Regardless of age, race, skin color, socioeconomic background, etc., they create intersectional safe spaces where women can work and come together.
Social media as a channel of action
Any article on the fight for gender equality would be negligent without mentioning the role of social media. The effective use and delivery of social media has played a critical role in a number of movements and trends.
For example, the Arab Spring 2010 would not have occurred without the ability to coordinate and communicate quickly via Facebook and other social messaging platforms. Similarly, recent protests against democracy in Hong Kong have been based on the rapid dissemination of information through WhatsApp groups.
In the same way is the #MeToo movement Wouldn't have been able to have such a significant impact without social media.
The "Me Too" phrase originally started on Myspace in 2006, but following Harvey Weinstein's revelations, the phrase that has gained prominence on Twitter has a rally hashtag. Millions of women added their votes to the hashtag, including several prominent A-list celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman.
The hashtag eventually morphed into a cohesive movement that put sexual abuse in the spotlight everywhere from the media and politics to church and education.
As a result, several high-profile men have been fired, prosecuted and tried.
While the #MeToo movement has a long way to go and will continue to do so for some time, it is demonstrating the innovative use of social media.
Gender equality is not just about equal pay, it is also about the right to live and work free from fear of sexual harassment and abuse.
The fight for gender equality still has a long way to go, but much has been done. Progress has been and is being made through innovative and dynamic approaches such as those described above.
Laura May is the digital editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and everything else that is important to you. Name throwing you off? Don't take it too seriously – we want to stand out from the crowd.